The Hero In Bourdillion
In recent political discussions in the country, the street of bourdillion has often been mentioned, referenced or reffered to in one way or the other. Various cadre of politicians, groups and government functionaries have often besieged this political shrine either to declare allegiance, partnership or in search of power. Prior to the last general election, this street was a political sanctuary or holy land where the candidates and politicians of the APC who today dominate the political horizon of the country had their pilgrimage. Bourdillion street is what it is today because of one man who resides in that street called Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu whom I reffere to here as the "HERO IN BOURDILLION".
In one of Prof. Mrs. Dora Akunyeli's interviews in a Tv program while she served as the country's first minister of information, she disagreed with the presenter who sighted the phenomenon known and reffered to by Nigerians as the "Nigerian Factor". She totally dismissed the existence of this factor business but rather educated that what exist is the "factor by Nigerians". In this light, the perceived factors are deliberately created by Nigerians. Some of these factors are healthy while some are unhealthy, however psychology suggests that people tend to hold on more to unhealthy factors in the the society. One prominent factor by Nigerians in today's politics is the Pull Him Down (PHD) syndrome. Just like my Pastor will always say that, "people could just hate you and want you destroyed out of sheer jealousy without you doing anything to them, simply because you are in the limelight".
The name Ahmed Bola Tinubu have come to stay in the anals of our national political history. During the aborted third republic vis a vis the IBB annulled 1993 election which still count as the freest and fairest in the country, Bola Tinubu was a key player in the SDP that glaringly and convincingly won that election. When the election was cancelled and Abacha took over power with his draconian unleashing of mayhem on the pro June 12 agitators, Bola Tinubu as a frontline June 12 activist through the National Democratic Coalition(NADECO) was pencilled down for elimination after rejecting all inducements and largesse from the black goggled General. Tinubu's resolute and dogged stand for democratic governance in the face of maximum threat and intimidation when very many other bread and butter politicians from across the country were falling for either the General's carrot or stick eventually led him to embark on exile. While in exile Tinubu joind forces with other pro democracy activists and launched a very intelligent, well coordinated and virile opposition against the Junta's government that eventually saw him ostracized by the international community.
Upon return from exile with the restoration of democratic governance in 1999, Ahmed Bola Tinubu was elected as the Executive Governor of Lagos state under the platform of the Action for Democracy(A.D), hence the commencement of another struggle. Tinubu as the Governor of Lagos state, the most strategic in the South west or Yoruba land was mindful of his obligations and was more than equipped in actualizing them. He reinvented the glorious leadership style and ideology of the late premier of Western Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo which the people were and are always in love with. This led to the springing up of massive infrastructures, responsive social services and robust economy in Lagos state to the admiration and envy of the entire country and even led to an increased migration of Nigerians from other parts of the country to the Center of Excellence. After his first four years in office, Ahmed Tinubu's popularity among his people knew no bounds. During the 2003 election, the then President Obasanjo who enjoyed little or no popularity among the Yoruba's then out of fear of Asiwaju's rising profile deployed the most cruel rigging machine to conquer the region for the P.D.P which hitherto had no presence nor followership in that region except for Obasanjo who was unpopularly hand picked by the exiting northern military cabal to serve as a respite to the region over the June 12 injustice. While Obasanjo deceived and conquered other A.D states in the south west, Tinubu remained unshaken and defiant. In that election Tinubu mercilessly won the P.D.P despite their coercive and intimidating federal might. During his second tenure, the federal government headed by Obasanjo used every tactics to frustrate Asiwaju, yet he continued to wax strong. For instance the local government allocations for the state was withheld and payments to the state for rehabilitating federal projects in the state denied, even when competent courts of law ordered otherwise. Faced with this challenge, Tinubu introduced the most effective tax system so far in Lagos state and this generated enough funds that sustained his government till it came to an end. Today, the Lagos tax system remains a model that is still copied and used by majority of the federating states especially in the face of the current dwindling of resources owing to the drop in oil price in the global market.
Tinubu has carved a niche for himself in political leadership today in Nigeria as he remains the only notable regional leader enjoying complete loyalty from his followers as was obtained in the first republic with former regional leaders like Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Sir Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna of Sokoto. The cause of this exceptional loyalty stems from the fatherly and progressive manner he has always employed in handling issues amongst his followers by ensuring fairness and care in all situations to the satisfaction of the majority.
The above little description of the Lion in Bourdillion is to inform the minds of the vulnerable populace especially the younger generation outside of the Western region who may not be abreast with these facts and may have ignorantly bought into the Pull Him Down plot of jealous leaders who cannot match this lion's height. I qualify them as jealous because they have no concrete nor verifiable fact of any misdeed against this man other than that he is achieving what they cannot achieve in their domains. Just like Chief Bode George did when he was convicted of corruption and the recent accusing fingers on Asiwaju by Sen. Dino Melaye and Sen. Joseph Waku over the former's ordeal in the election tribunal and the investigation of the Senate President's wife by the EFCC, they readily attribute any of their failures and misfortune on Tinubu. It is on record that Tinubu stood corruption trial also at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and came out clean without pointing accusing fingers at anybody. They have now perfected plans to pull Asiwaju down through campaigns of calumny, malicious fake propaganda, mudslinging and any other form of character assassination they can lay their hands on. Since the election of President Buhari they have been uncomfortable with the man who midwived that resounding victory and have since gone to work, determined to create a rift between him and the President. The internal anti Tinubu forces in the APC have not spared anything in trying to scheme him out as was manifested in the recent National Assembly embroil, where they had to re swallow their vomit by entering into an unholy alliance with the PDP that has been rejected by Nigerians to pull Tinubu down. The NASS bruhaha was nothing else other than the fear of certain political forces against the well organized political structure and leadership of Ahmed Tinubu.
As an Igbo man, I am particularly disturbed that so far we can boast of no outstanding leader in Igboland that we can rally around for political direction like Tinubu in Yoruba land. The Igbo masses have no confidence in their political class. The loss of confidence in the political class is attributery to their selfishness and quest for personal benefit instead of the people's welfare. The one man who can be looked up to today to assume the status of Tinubu in Igboland going by his rising profile is Owelle Rochas Okorocha. No doubt Owelle is rising but he needs to make some serious improvements ahead. He must begin to imbibe the leadership style of Tinubu who sincerely empower his political followers, he must be straight and sincere with his pronouncements and promises to people, he should invent the Tinubu like master stroke for resolving dispute among his followers, he must build trust and confidence from the people. Owelle can be like Tinubu if he does not pretend not to know the sufferings of the people and must be able to pay his aides and staff well just like Tinubu does. He must not be seen as materialistic or cunny. He should be all inclusive and eschew vindictiveness.
The above advice is not exclusive to Rochas Okorocha but to any other leader who aspires to lead the Igbo nation.
Comrd. Aku Obidinma